Taking Drupal's Marketing to the Next Level


Someday, I'll have a chance to design some halfway decent drupal ads. In the meantime, however, I can only offer some general thoughts on how Drupal could become the poster child for good grassroots open source marketing.

The Focus of Our Marketing SHOULD NOT BE Drupal

Drupal's biggest problems, in terms of marketing is two fold:

  • Our marketing is not getting people's attention. I think the majority of new users had to seriously educate themselves before they understood that drupal was the right choice.
  • Even when we do get their attention, our current marketing fails to seduce them.

To put it differently, Drupal keeps messing up first Dates.

Dating Advice for Drupal

Have you ever watched a really BAD first date? Well, I certainly have. I work 10-12 hours a day at a busy coffee shop near University of Texas. I witness at least one bad date every day. Oddly, the most common mistake I've observed in dating apply directly to drupal marketing efforts.

Don't Talk too Much

And for god's sake, don't talk too much about yourself. This is the number one screw up guys make on dates. They talk. I can't tell you how many times I hear from friends, "Well, I thought he was cute, but then he just started talking, and talking, and talking... I was so bored. "

Similarly, drupal's date is unlikely to care that it's a framework, and a CMS. Drupal needs to understand that their date is still "getting a feel" for Drupal.

Skilled daters know that on the first date, you ask your date questions. When they give an answer, you make an effort to empathize, to understand, to agree (but this is best done in a way that makes them laugh, or intrigues them).

The goal of your questions is to find some weird passion, ideal, or activity which both of you share. More often than not, you only have to find on thing in common before you can move on to a deeper level.

Bottom line: Drupal's marketing needs to focus on making connections with potential users. Once the connection is made, we can move to the next level of education.

Practically Applying Dating Tips for Drupal

At SXSWi,Bryght's Kris Krug and I talked about doing a set of ads for drupal called "In a box". These ads are designed to speak to great variety of passionate people who could be potetential users. The ad would be very easy to do as a series (and indeed would need to be). Here's a rough sketches:

Exhibition in a Box

Intended Audience: Artists, Photographers, Graphic Designers.

Main Visual Focus: A crowded art gallery shown on the cover of a box, (similar to the way large lego sets are packaged).

Rationale: Duh, artists, photographers, and graphic designers are interested in showcasing their work. This ad SHOWs them that drupal does exactly that.(remember, its all about making that first connection).

Text: A footnote along the lines of "buyers not included", or "artistic talent not included".

After clicking the ad, they'd be directed to page that explains to them how Drupal can be used to create online showcases for their work. It will show screenshots of really well done drupal galleries, and then send them to a tutorial on how to get started building thier own gallery.

Final Word

This was literally the kind of idea that I wrote down on a napkin. It could probably be improved greatly. Or maybe it isn't the best we can do. However, I think it shows an example of good marketing, and even better, good education. The flow is: a) make a connection with the target user, b) educate them, entice them, seduce them using screenshots, live examples, and links to technical info. c) then, we're ready to make our run to the home plate: they download, and we ease them into making their dreams happen using drupal.

Or, we could rework how to say, "Drupal is very very powerful, and technically sophisticated. However, that's what every other CMS does. Think different.